Centre stage at Senators camp

Senators forward Peter Regin looks over his hockey bio during the opening of training camp at...

Senators forward Peter Regin looks over his hockey bio during the opening of training camp at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ont., Sep. 16, 2011. (ERROL McGIHON/QMI Agency)

DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:27 PM ET

OTTAWA - No Senator needs the fresh start a new coaching staff brings more than Peter Regin.

Under Cory Clouston, Regin thrived in the latter part of the 2009-10 season and was the team’s best player in that spring’s playoff.

But last season, the two lost faith in each other and Regin’s play plummeted. He scored just three goals and 14 assists in 55 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

Regin returns to camp now with his shoulder “perfect” and anxious to win the affections of new coach Paul MacLean.

“I think it helps Peter, because Peter felt he wasn’t getting everything he could get last year,” GM Bryan Murray said when asked if the decision to cut ties with Clouston would benefit the 25-year-old Dane. “So yes, I’d say that.”

Regin was diplomatic when discussing the coaching change.

“I think we’re all excited to try something new, maybe,” he said. “I think it will be good for everyone.”

Regin will be among the closest scrutinized at this year’s camp. While he also plays wing, he has to be considered the leading candidate for the all-important second-line centre’s job. His primary competition will come from a pair of rookies — first-round pick Mika Zibanejad and former NCAA star Stephane Da Costa.

“I think I’ll get the chance and I’ll do my best to prove I can be that guy,” said Regin. “There’s other guys that want that spot, too, but I’ll do my best and I know I have the ability to play well and play way better than I did last year. That’s my goal, to just prove myself.

“I want to have a big role.”

How good can Regin be is the question. As a rookie, he had 13 goals and 16 assists in 75 games, then scored three times in six games during the playoffs.

His speed and puck skills indicated he had the potential to reach another level.

“I think I can help the team win some games and really be a guy that puts up points more often than I did,” said Regin. “And my two-way game, working in my own end, too, and be responsible. The whole package. I never got into that last year and that’s what I want to find this year.

“I know I can play at that level,” he said of his performance two springs ago. “I’m still young. I want to be better than that, too. I haven’t reached my high yet.”

In the meantime, he’s thrilled to be part of a new atmosphere at Scotiabank Place.

“I’m excited to be here,” said Regin. “You can feel there’s a whole different mood around here. Everybody’s happy and everybody is excited to get going and really show that we’re still a good team.”

don.brennan@sunmedia.ca


Videos

Photos